Egyptian visual artist Mahmoud Fathy was born in Kuwait to Cairene parents, later on settling in his city of origin; Cairo. Fathy studied visual arts, interior design, scenography for Theatre and Cinema at the historical Fine Arts Faculty of Helwan University in Egypt. “Mahmoud Fathy is one of Egypt’s top designers.” Says theorist and choreographer Adham Hafez, “He uses graphics design to create visual vortices for our memory, desires, expectations and resistance to representation. His designs playfully move between the gallery space, the market, and the intimate artist’s sketchbook, making him a hard to categorize artist.”
Fathy constructed the visual identities to many Egyptian leading businesses such as Diwan Bookshops and Cilantro chains. He revived the visual interfaces of firms and projects as massive as Mobinil, Barclays Bank, Cairo Jazz Club, British Council of the MENA region, ART Media enterprise, and GTZ organization, amongst others. Mahmoud Fathy departs from one constant desire; to create new visual experiences that reset our expectations as viewers. He considers visual design as a practice that should question visual expectations, habits of seeing, and constantly invoke memories of a personal past or of a collective cultural history. He engages with the aesthetical histories of enterprises and projects he takes over when he is called to reinvent their corporate identities, playing with what the object might be as a product, as an icon, or as a site for socio-political reminiscence and projecting. “I am very inspired by the Arabic alphabet. It serves both as a textual medium and a visual medium, how calligraphy inscribes itself in letters and in our memory of those letters, makes the alphabet at once an iconic image and a site for words construction”; says Mahmoud Fathy, “making us wonder about the nature of objects, words, and images, and how they are intersections of planes of perception”. Fathy creates contemporary works that linger seductively in a classical visual canon, to allow access to the designs created. “I frequently use iconic images from childhood memories, cultural motifs, not to create exotic fetishes, but to remind people how seeing itself can always be reinvented anew”.
Currently based in Berlin, Mahmoud Fathy’s latest works have been published in art books in Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others. His work has also been exhibited in reputable venues such as Cairo Opera House. He continues to research new visual interfaces, objects that defy visual expectation, and designs for several international brands and firms.